Category Archives Europe

The U.K. Environment Agency has announced a project "to establish standardised metrics to measure environmental performance of the food and drink sector." The agency "is aiming to make it simpler for businesses and for the public to understand the environmental performance of companies in key areas such as greenhouse gas reduction and resource efficiency," according to the announcement. The agency indicated that it intends to incentivize companies to establish "greener manufacturing processes and business operations helping to tackle climate change" and positioned the project as an aid to businesses intending to "effectively communicate their environmental performance to the public."

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) have begun consultations seeking scientific evaluations of glyphosate. "The classification of chemicals is based solely on the hazardous properties of a substance and does not take into account the use or likelihood of exposure to the substance," the announcement notes. "Exposure is considered as part of the risk assessment of pesticide active substances, a process led by EFSA." Glyphosate is currently approved for use the European Union until December 2022, and EFSA and ECHA anticipate finalizing their conclusions "in the second half of 2022." Comments will be accepted until November 22, 2021.

An EU study has examined New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), which can create genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and their potential effects on creating a sustainable food system in Europe. In a press release, Commissioner for Heath and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said, "The study we publish today concludes that New Genomic Techniques can promote the sustainability of agricultural production, in line with the objectives of our Farm to Fork Strategy. With the safety of consumers and the environment as the guiding principle, now is the moment to have an open dialogue with citizens, Member States and the European Parliament to jointly decide the way forward for the use of these biotechnologies in the EU." The announcement notes that the EU will begin an open consultation "to discuss the design of a new legal framework for these biotechnologies." Among the findings of the study are that "NGT products have the potential to…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued guidance with information advising food business operators on what information should be included on frozen food packaging. The guidance suggests when additional food-safety information should be included, such as a note to only thaw the necessary amount of food and to break up large pieces that have been frozen together inside the package. EFSA also notes that some products will have different shelf-life limits after the packaging has been opened because new pathogens could have been introduced. "From a food safety point of view, freezing prevents the growth of pathogens. However, even though the concentration of pathogens may decrease over time, elimination is usually not complete during the freezing period depending on the pathogen and initial concentrations, the duration of the frozen storage and conditions during freezing/thawing. Pathogenic microorganisms that survive frozen storage can recover during thawing and may grow and/or produce…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released several guidance documents to aid stakeholders in complying with EU regulations on food issues implemented on March 27, 2021. The publications provide guidance on: Applying for an exemption from mandatory food allergen labeling; Renewing applications for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and feed; Preparing applications for genetically modified plants; Applying for authorization of a novel food; Preparing applications for substances to be used in food-contact plastics; Applying to make health claims about foods; Preparing an evaluation for infant formula manufactured from protein hydrolysates; and Submitting notifications for traditional foods from third countries.

The European Food Safety Authority has issued scientific guidance on the inclusion of smoke flavoring in food products. The guidance includes notes on the characterization of the flavoring, proposed uses, exposure assessments and safety data. Smoke flavoring has increasingly been a target of putative class actions in the United States, including lawsuits targeting smoked gouda and smoked provolone.

The U.K. Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has opened a consultation on the regulation of genetic technologies in food. "It mainly focuses on the regulation of gene edited (GE) organisms possessing genetic changes which could have been introduced by traditional breeding," the consultation states. "[W]e are using this opportunity to engage separately and start gathering views on the wider regulatory framework governing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)." "EU legislation controlling the use of GMOs was retained in the UK at the end of the transition period (after 31 December 2020). This retained legislation requires that all GE organisms are classified as GMOs irrespective of whether they could be produced by traditional breeding methods[1]. Defra’s view is that organisms produced by GE or by other genetic technologies should not be regulated as GMOs if they could have been produced by traditional breeding methods. Leaving the EU provides an opportunity…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against BrewDog Beer for a print ad and an outdoor poster ad that displayed "F--k You CO2. Brewdog Beer Is Now Carbon Negative" with the dashes obscured by a can of beer. ASA found that the poster ad "had been placed in accordance with guidelines on proximity to schools and religious buildings; that the ad had run during school summer holidays and that one local authority (Newcastle City Council) had been asked and considered the ad acceptable for use." However, the board found that the ad "was so likely to offend a general audience that such a reference should not appear in media where it was viewable by such an audience. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious and widespread offence and was not appropriate for display in untargeted media." ASA upheld the complaint as it…

The European Parliament has reportedly voted against a ban on the use of meat terms for plant-based alternatives to meat, allowing words such as "burger," "steak" and "sausage" to be used on the packaging for plant-based foods, while passing a measure to ban the use of dairy terms on alternatives to dairy foods, such as "yogurt-style" or "cream imitation." A ban was already in place for the use of "milk" and "butter" for plant-based foods, and the passage of the measure expands the limitations.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released its assessment of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—a group of chemicals that can be found in food and food packaging—and their potential risks to human health. The agency has set the threshold for a group tolerable weekly intake of 4.4 nanograms per kilogram of body weight. EFSA noted that its 2018 assessment considered an increase in cholesterol as the main critical effect of PFAS, but the experts in the 2020 assessment "considered the decreased response of the immune system to vaccination to be the most critical human health effect."

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